Interactive Family Map


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Prepare Them Free Them Empower Them Aim Them

Welcome to Family Land. To navigate this page, simply click on one of the numbers, the four signs at the top, or click the "Next" button to the right.


Key to Grace Based Family Land


These signs represent the four-part theology of grace that makes up the Grace Based Parenting Strategy. This is how God’s saving grace should redefine us as followers of Jesus. They articulate what Christ is doing for His children.

Key to Grace Based Family Land

Grace Based Parenting is simply treating your children the way God treat His!

Grace Based Parenting is simply treating your children the way God treat His!

As you will see, these four over-arching signs define the culture, context, and direction of Family Land. They represent, not only the way parents treat their children as well as the specific qualities parents are transferring to their children’s hearts, but they also represent the way the church professional and volunteer staff both operate and treat each other when dealing with parents and children.

2The Cobblestones

You’ll notice that the colors of the cobblestone correspond to the colors of the four signs at the top. What this represents is that the on-going path through Family Ministry is defined by grace.

Copyright 2010 Family Matters

There are three ways this strategy is kept front and centered in the parent and children’s lives.

  1. The entire staff of the church is committed to operating with each other as well as the people of the congregation according to these four tenants of applied relational grace: meeting each others core needs, setting each other’s hearts free, demonstrating well-defined character, and living a life focused on true greatness. Pettiness, territorialism, exclusivity, protectionism, gossip, scarcity thinking, arrogance and comparison must once and for all leave the church offices.
  2. This standard of applied relational grace is what is taught and expected of all people who serve within departments as volunteers.
  3. Parents are taught the grace-based strategy through on-going and repeated training in marriage and parenting. This doesn’t mean a conference or sermon series every couple of years but small group and Sunday school enrichment hour studies that are specifically designed to help married couples and parents embrace God’s grace at home. Every married couple and every parent is encouraged to attend the studies provided through small groups or Sunday teaching classes. All pastoral staff are expected to attend these same classes as examples to the flock, for personal benefit, and so they can turn everyday grace into the second nature of their home and work.

Resources: Grace Based Parenting DVD series. For more information visit

Copyright 2010 Family Matters

3 & 4

3Baby Dedication

Often baby dedication involves the parents coming a little early to a church service to find out where to stand. That is a wasted opportunity. Because baby dedication is so strategic and parents so desirous of it, it’s a great time to have a single class (required) that gives them a biblical context for their role as a spiritual mentor to their child. The Children’s Pastor of Scottsdale Bible Church calls this the “Legacy Training Class. Among other things, he helps parents write a personal prayer to their child that is used in the dedication service.

4Give the Blessing to Your Child

Dr. John Trent has created a simple but powerful 5-part blessing that can be taught to parents in a class setting. It is applied by them formally speaking this blessing to their child. A good time to make sure parents begin this habit is in the 3-6 year old time frame. For more information on how to transfer the blessing to children go to

Copyright 2010 Family Matters


5Love, Sex and Honor

Have you ever heard a Christian pastor or parent complain about the sex education classes in the public schools? A good question to ask them is, “I see you’re frustrated with the school system trying to address a problem that they’re often having to contend with in their students, so, what kind of a sex education program does your church offer? Evangelical churches should have been leading the way on this issue. Instead, they have been (for the most part) silent about it while continuing to throw rocks at the secular entities that (though flawed and often clueless to what the Bible says) are at least trying to address it.

Churches need to be encouraging and equipping parents to engage their kids in an early and on-going discussion about love, sex and honor. You might be a bit nervous about the idea of beginning this discussion at the age of 5-6. Satan loves the fact that you are. He loves it even better if you assume that it is simply too early to introduce this subject. He’s loves this for two reasons, he knows for a fact that it’s not too early and he wants to be the first one to introduce the subject to them—but he wants to tell them a bunch of lies. Satan knows that it is far more important to be first than it is to be correct. Being first gives him the high ground and parents are stuck with trying to deprogram their kids through the remainder of their childhood.

A savvy grace based family ministry takes leadership in teaching and equipping parents on how to introduce this subject to their children. You’ll notice the sign has an arrow facing into the future. This means that this is not a one-time conversation but one that starts around the time their children enter kindergarten and continues throughout their time under the parent‘s roof.

Some parents don’t feel qualified because of their promiscuous past. Once again, Satan has to be chuckling. He loves using shame and embarrassment to silence Christian people/parents from doing what God expects them to do. But conscientious family ministries can give parents courage, clarity and confidence to open up this discussion with their child in such a way that the child feels safe to bring all of what they hear, think and fear to their parents in order to find their way through it all. It’s a spiritual crime how many children are brought up in Christian homes with little to no guidance on this critical dimension of their life. It’s an added spiritual crime when churches do nothing to help them. Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Seminary weighed in on this subject and reminded us, “We shouldn’t be ashamed to discuss what God wasn’t ashamed to create.”

Resources: Book 1: The Story of Me ages 3 to 5, Book 2: Before I was Born ages 5 to 8, Book 3: What's the big Deal? ages 8 to 11, Book 4: Facing the Facts ages 11 to 14, Book 5: How and When to talk About Sex. Here are 2 additional books … life changing!!: The Sexually Confident Wife, The Invisible Bond...a book for ANYONE who has struggled with any kind of sexual past.

Copyright 2010 Family Matters

6 & 7

Your Child's Uniqueness

6Your Child's Uniqueness

Imagine sending your children out to play or to school everyday dressed in fine clothes and sturdy shoes, but the clothes are two sizes too small and the shoes are always put on the wrong feet. Although they are well-clothed and have good protection for their feet, they’re going to be very distracted when it comes to how they go about their day.

This is exactly what happens in homes where the parents fail to understand the God-made and unique design of their children. The bulk of tools for calibrating this, however, are designed for adults. That is until now! There is now a GAME (The Kid’s Flag Page) you can play with your children as young as 5 years old that can give them (and their parent) a fabulous and clear picture of their unique design. This is a true game-changer when it comes to creating grace-based homes. This game gives parents a wonderful look into the heart of their child and gives them clear understanding in how to parent them in a way that consistently brings out their best.

7Dollars & Sense for Kids

It's never too early to teach the biblical non-negotiables about money. Money is going to make up a huge part of every child’s future. It’s best to introduce clear teaching on this as early as possible. It is not hard and fast when this is introduced. With the right volunteer leadership and curriculum, this could be taught throughout their youth in several different ways. The key is getting their parents trained in the biblical laws of money and then showing them how to implement these principles with their children.

Copyright 2010 Family Matters


8Rite of Passage

Age 13 is a wonderful, mystifying and terrifying time in a child’s youth. It’s also a fabulous benchmark to touch their lives in such a way that you radically ramp up their ability to thrive through their teenage years. The Rite of Passage sign represents an event. It could be a trip to a place of the child’s choosing or an activity of the child’s choosing that is experienced with one of their parents (preferably mom with daughters; dad with sons). The key to this event is that you’re marking a line of demarcation in how you are going to view as well as treat your child. Going into it, you’re viewing them as boys or girls. Coming out of it you’re going to view them as young men or young women. You could have them read a book on sexual purity. During the trip you set aside some pockets of time in the midst of your fun to discuss dating, relationships, stepping up to greater responsibilities, etc. And then, when you come home, you let them know that you’re going to treat them differently. You’re going to give them more freedoms and choices, but you’re also going to give them more responsibilities when it comes to living mature and adult-like lives.

For kids who don’t have both parents on board in their life or have parents who have yet to find Christ, the men’s and women’s ministry arms of your church could either come alongside the parents to help them fulfill this vital moment in their child’s life, or, if the parents are simply uninterested, create a church-based event for them.

Resources: Robert Lewis has prepared excellent training in his book and DVD study “Becoming a Man: A Father and Son Adventure Together” “Authentic Manhood” “Raising a Modern Day Knight” and “Men’s Fraternity”. All of these resources give leadership in not only raising sons but how to mark their steps into manhood with ceremony. Women looking at this material could easily transfer the information into a female context.

Copyright 2010 Family Matters

9, 10 & 11

9Your God Given Gifts

All kids who are saved by grace have spiritual gifts. So do their parents who follow the Lord. It’s good to make sure that some time in their teenage years they get training in identifying and developing skill in their spiritual gifts. Many churches have classes taught by their senior pastor that can be attended by parents and teenagers together. Perhaps this is training that can come through the Student Pastor’s department in your church. There are different inventories that have been developed that help people identify their spiritual gifts.

Lighting Up Your World

10Lighting Up Your World

If we are followers of Jesus, He expects us to be the light of the world.

Resource: Your church or high school ministry department may already have an on-going training in evangelism. If not, a great resource for this is “Explore” taught by Robert Lewis.

11Ceremony of Manhood/Womanhood

Age 16 is a standard line of demarcation in our culture. The biggest event is that in most states 16 is the year a teenager can first legally drive. This is a great year to mark with a ceremony of manhood or womanhood. Notice that “Rite of Passage” is an event that is primarily involving one of the parents with the teenager. This particular occasion is more of a “ceremony” involving numerous adults who have played a key role in a son or daughter’s life. It can be very elaborate, but it doesn’t have to be. It might be as simple as inviting 3 or 4 godly adult friends and 1 or 2 church leaders who have played a key role in your son or daughters life over to your house (restaurant, et al) to spend and evening with your young man or woman. You could have them share the one or two things they wished someone would have shared with them when they were 16. Then have them isolate the 2 or 3 qualities they see in your son or daughter. Close it off by each one laying their hands on your son or daughter and praying a blessing over them and their future.

For kids who don’t have both parents on board in their life or have parents who have parents yet to find Christ, the men’s, women’s or student ministry arms of your church could either come alongside the parents to help them fulfill this vital moment in their child’s life, or, if the parents are simply uninterested, create a church-based ceremony for them.

Resources: Robert Lewis has prepared excellent training in his book and DVD study “Becoming a Man: A Father and Son Adventure Together” “Authentic Manhood” “Raising a Modern Day Knight” and “Men’s Fraternity”. All of these resources give leadership in not only raising sons but how to mark their steps into manhood with ceremony. It’s easily adaptable to women.

Copyright 2010 Family Matters

12 & 13

12Preparing to be Married

So many young people sabotage their future marriage simply by the selfish and foolish way they interact with the opposite sex during their dating years. Somewhere in the 14-18 year old corridor is an excellent time to do a marriage prep course geared to kids looking at marriage well into their future. This could be an elective offered to parents and their teenager on an annual basis by the Marriage Ministry department, Youth or Family Ministry department, or by a gifted lay couple.

Resources: At this time, there are not many options for this type of training geared to teenagers. But the materials out there for adults could easily be used as an outline to create strong teaching. The new book Grace Based Marriage by Tim Kimmel is coming in Fall of 2013.

13College Ready

College Ready

It’s no secret that the majority of kids brought up in Christian homes and who also attend church on a regular basis still have a difficult time maintaining a passionate commitment to Christ once they go off to college. Many of them fall into deep moral holes. Most of these come out with emotional and spiritual scars that often badger them all of their life. It doesn’t need to be this way. What is needed is a parent/teenager study that can help the high school student see their college experience through clear and practical eyes. Fortunately, there is now an excellent curriculum to make this happen. This is a curriculum that can (should) be offered every Spring semester. All high school juniors or seniors should be encouraged to go through this study with their parents. of a kid’s Junior year in High School.

Resources: We highly recommend College Ready by John Bryson. Check it out at the LifeReady website.

Copyright 2010 Family Matters


14The Rest Stop Signs

You’ll notice on the Family Ministry Map that there are rest stops for Single Parents, Foster Parents, Special Needs Parents and Missionaries Families on foreign soil. These are families that carry an extra amount of stress on them. One of the cool things a grace based family ministry strategy can do is provide special teaching, help, and relief for these four categories of families. For the missionary families, it might be making all of the video tools available to them free of charge and/or visiting them on the mission field with a team of people who are strictly there to encourage and build up their family’s emotional and spiritual health.

In this same context, other ministries in the church can really have a servant oriented impact in these four families by bringing some of the man/woman power to bear on comforting, encouraging, mentoring and helping these parents carry their heavier load.

Copyright 2010 Family Matters


On-going Training in Strong Marriages

Wise family ministry does more than just hope for strong marriages, it maintains consistent and looping training for marriages. There are many great resources for this. LifeReady has "Marriage Oneness," "LifeReady Woman" and "LifeReady Man." Another great resource for strong marriage is Emerson Eggerich’s "Love & Respect."

A Volunteer Led Ministry

None of the parts of this map require pastoral involvement other than he or she encouraging the lay people who step up to fill the gap. Because so much of the training is available through leading edge/cutting edge DVD curriculum taught by some of the finest family advocates and biblical teachers in the country, all the full time pastor has to do is recruit and encourage the lay volunteers to cover these vital parts of this comprehensive grace based strategy.

For excellent insight on how to unleash the power of your lay staff, watch the online video "The LifeReady Strategy" and "A Word to Pastors" at


A huge thank-you to the Family Ministry DNA Committee of Scottsdale Bible Church and Dr. John Trent for their contributions to the Family Ministry Map.

Two key ministries meeting the grace based family ministry needs:

Family Matters Life Ready
Copyright 2010 Family Matters